Super Rugby: Owen Franks, George Bridge out for Crusaders against Highlanders

The Crusaders will be without prop Owen Franks for their southern derby blockbuster against the Highlanders on Friday.

The All Blacks veteran has been sidelined with a shoulder issue. He'll undergo further scans this week to determine the severity of the injury.

Wing George Bridge is another who's been added to the casualty list, out with an undisclosed injury. He'll be replaced by Sevu Reece.

Coach Scott Robertson said they'd be in rush to bring Franks back into the fold, particularly with their bye week on the horizon.

"We've realised that we can take the time with our players," said Robertson. "Because we have the depth in the squad, and that's something we're really fortunate to have.

"It's really important that we have as many bodies available by the end of the competition by trusting those players now."

Meanwhile, hooker Codie Taylor will spend another week recovering from the calf strain that saw him miss last week's win over the Brumbies. 

Andrew Makalio will start at in Taylor's number two jersey, and Ben Funnell has been named on the bench. 

In other forward pack changes, Sam Whitelock and Whetukamokamo Douglas return to the starting side. Whitelock will resume the captaincy. 

Halfbacks Bryn Hall and Mitchell Drummond will swap roles yet again, Hall claiming the starting spot this week.

Jack Goodhue and Braydon Ennor both return to the starting side at centre and on the right wing respectively

The struggling Highlanders will also be minus another All Black, with Luke Whitelock's injury absence further depleting the team's already dwindling stocks.

Crusaders: 1-Joe Moody, 2-Andrew Makalio, 3-Micahel Alaalatoa, 4-Scott Barrett, 5-Sam Whitelock (c), 6-Whetukamokamo Douglas, 7-Matt Todd, 8-Kieran Read, 9-Bryn Hall, 10-Richie Mo'unga, 11-Sevu Reece, 12-Ryan Crotty, 13-Jack Goodhue, 14-Brayden Ennor, 15-David Havili

Reserves: 16-Ben Funnell, 17-Harry Allan, 18-Oliver Jager, 19-Quinten Strange, 20-Jordan Taufua, 21-Mitchell Drummond, 22-Mitchell Hunt, 23-Will Jordan


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